Schools are huge institutions with many, many people taking advantage of their resources. Although many schools are funded publicly, overcrowding of classrooms can stretch the budget pretty thin and leave a lot less money for school trips, teams and clubs.
There seems to be always something to pay for, be it new uniforms for the football team or repairs for the science lab. Fundraising is the answer, but how do you make it fun for everyone without making it a chore or doing the same thing you did last year, over and over?
It really depends on what you're fundraising for. If it's something for the school itself, then you can directly appeal to alumni and parents (if it's a public school).
Some people won't appreciate direct donation appeals, but others might donate, and if you're strapped for cash, it's a good way of making some quick money in less time than actually planning a fundraiser is. Many schools send letters home with their students asking for extra money for certain things.
Some parents will donate, some won't. You can also try a scratch card fundraiser or go with a fundraising company, who can help you decide the best way to get your fundraiser off the ground.
If the money is going to go to one of the school's teams or clubs, you can involve them in your fundraising efforts. Lots of students are going to love doing something for the team, especially when it involves fun.
Let the students brainstorm ideas and use their creativity to stage a really interesting, unique fundraiser. After all, don't we all get sick of selling chocolate bars?
How to keep the fun in fundraising
There are so many ways to fundraise that don't involve fundraising companies or the same old fundraisers you've used year after year. In fact, when you keep it fun for everyone, you may see a higher rate of participation among students and the community alike.
Fundraisers can be a lot of work. However, they don't have to encompass all work and no play. If your team works hard to raise money and reaches their goal, reward them! Take them out for coffee, give them a dinner, dance or day at the beach, or recognize the people that have done the most work with something special.
Make it a social event – don't send people home to do their fundraising work by themselves, especially if it involves painting posters or making phone calls. It's always more fun when there are other people around to make the work light.
Don't forget to highlight smaller milestones and goals along the way. If your goal is to make a certain number of dollars, reward your team when they make half that, or three-quarters of that. It will raise morale and definitely motivate them to do more to reach that final goal.
Plus, focus on the end result – if the cheerleaders are working towards getting new uniforms and a new training coach, then help them remember that all this work will mean that they'll look great on the field, both in appearance and in skills.<
School Fundraising Ideas
What can your school do to fundraise without resorting to the same old stuff you've done every year? Here's a few ideas we thought would work for a school setting.
- Lollipop fundraiser – this can work well for a smaller team or club, and the best thing is, you don't necessarily have to go through a company to get the product. You can make “bouquets” of lollipops and sell them for a low price at lunch hour, after school, and at sports games. Everyone loves a lollipop, and you can get low calorie ones for those who are trying to eat healthy, too.
- A guessing jar fundraiser is a fun way to bring in the cash. It works well as a campus or high school fundraiser, since there's always a lot of traffic in the hallways between classes. The good thing about the guessing jar fundraiser is that you can customize it however you like. You can charge anything you want per guess, but keep it low, or people won't want to participate. Some of the prizes can be big, and others small. For the bigger ones, charge more to recoup the money you've spent.
- Why not turn a normal school event into a fundraiser? Spelling bees, school plays, math contests, even school dances can be fundraising events. For math contests, debates or spelling bees, the participant will get sponsors to donate money for every right answer, or every right word, or even based on whether or not they'll win the contest. With dances, a portion of the proceeds can go to a team or to a club, and any concessions sold that night can also add to donations.
- Recycling fundraisers are big in today's troubled society – our earth is failing, but that doesn't mean we have to fail it. Recycling soup labels, ink jet cartridges, or pop cans doesn't just help the earth, it helps your group's pockets, too. Many stores and businesses are happy to take these things back and then donate a certain amount of money to your group. Some convert the proceeds into worthy causes, like wheelchairs for disabled kids.
Sometimes, you can even arrange a fundraiser in an everyday classroom setting. Is your school one that uses uniforms? Why not ask the students to pay $1 for a casual Friday? Some schools even allow pajama days or spirit days, where students pay to dress up in red, black, and white.
Prizes should be given for the best effort, the funniest pajamas, etc. People will be much more likely to participate if they know they can be creative.
School fundraisers don't have to be boring, and even if you do end up doing the same thing you did last year, it can still have a new spin put on it. When everyone's focused on making the experience fun, it will be something that you can do again and again.